Cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski on shooting horror in the glaring sun for Midsommar

My talk with Midsommar cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski is now up on Filmmaker Magazine. The folk horror tale re-teams Pogorzelski and his Hereditary director Ari Aster. Shot on the Panavision DLX2 with Panavison Primo Primes and Primo Artiste 70mm lenses.

Here’s Pogorzelski breaking down one of the film’s distinctive drone shots:

Filmmaker: There’s a shot when the Americans are first driving to Hårga where a drone flies from the front of the car to the back. As the drone moves, the camera rotates 180 degrees so that the image is upside down when it reaches the other side of the vehicle. I don’t remember ever seeing that shot before.

Pogorzelski: We found very good drone operators in Hungary, where the Sweden-set scenes were filmed, but at first they told us it was impossible to do that shot. I kept doing research and found a way, which was basically a custom-made drone with a gimbal head — I think it was a Ronin — that could hold an Alexa Mini. Then you had to bypass the drone’s software to tell it to tilt more than [the software] would normally allow. I asked the drone operators if they would try that for me and they were a bit reluctant because that drone is their baby. The first day we flew it, the drone died as it took off. So we had to do the shot again on a day that was a little bit too overcast, but it was the only day we had left to get the shot. It was very windy, but the operators were able to keep the drone flying straight, which was quite impressive. I think we did it four or five times and every time [the drone operators] were very nervous. I was always like, “One more, one more. We can do it better.” And they were always like, “Are you sure? I think we’ve got it.” (laughs)

Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis on shooting the doppelgängers of Us

The latest entry in my Shutter Angles column for Filmmaker Magazine is a chat with Us cinematographer Mike Gioulakis. Shot on Arri/Zeiss Master Primes with an emphasis on practical effects, which included storyboarding nearly the entire film in order to mainly use clever blocking, framing, and editing to sell the movie’s doppelganger effect rather than relying on digital tricks like face replacements.

Gioulakis also breaks down a half dozen specific shots from the film, including the opening credits’ long pullback shot of a wall of caged bunnies.

Strangers on a Train posters from around the world

Work by Italian masters Luigi Martinati and Rodolfo Gasparri highlight this collection of art from around the globe for Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951). Based on the debut novel of Patricia Highsmith, who went on to write The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Price of Salt, which served as the basis for Todd Haynes’ film Carol.

Visit Cinephilia and Beyond to find the film’s script, storyboards, and a transcription of Hitchcock’s interview with Francois Truffaut from the fall of 1962.

All the posters come courtesy of Heritage Auctions, which features weekly bidding on a new set of beautiful movie art.

Pic of the Day – A miniaturized set from 1998’s Godzilla

Anna Foerster, the Visual Effects Director of Photography: Miniatures on 1998’s Godzilla, takes a spot meter reading on one of the film’s tiny sets. Photo by Isabella Vosmikova.

This pic comes from a must-read piece over at American Cinematographer that traces the shifts in visual effects photography through interviews with effects legends including John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, and Dennis Muren.

More Pics of the Day

Pic of the Day – Cap hanging from a C-Stand on the set of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

With T-minus two days remaining before Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, here’s a behind the scenes shot from one of the Infinity Saga’s first entries – 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.

Pics from a Creative Cow story on the film’s visual effects.

Check out more Pics of the Day.

The Shot Behind the Shot – Glass (2019)

I missed the final chapter of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable trilogy in theaters, but as of yesterday Glass is now out on home media. Here’s a before-and-after VFX shot from the film, which – like Shyamalan’s previous two efforts The Visit and Split – was self-funded by the director.

Check out more in the Shot Behind the Shot series.